-Artists abroad and down under
Everyone wants to be the next Aussie legend within the entertainment industry, like Heath Ledger or Kylie Minogue, but how far should our talented artists travel for their career?
Two of Australia’s upcoming home-grown talents could not be working further apart, less than a year on from their respective graduations.
The Brisbane boys are just two of many actors, musicians and artists choosing between pursuing careers in Australia and overseas.
Disneyland Paris performer and dancer Nate Seip says he chose to work overseas when he was offered a contract soon after completing high-school.
He says working as a parade dancer or a character in the park whilst travelling abroad and experiencing the French culture was extremely appealing.
“Working in a foreign country as a performer is sometimes challenging with the language barrier, however, for the most part, it is so rewarding.”
Foxtel actor George Pullar, however, has chosen to stay in Oz, working in Sydney on two shows after his university graduation.
Mr Pullar says he will move on once he has established himself with a few more shows, gravitating towards America where the work is.
He says Australia’s industry is highly successful, but small.
“We’re really good producers of talent, but then we lose a lot of it to the States and that affects our industry.”
Online American casting platform Backstage.com (which connects actors and performers with casting directors, producers and directors) says there is a fresh crop of Aussies moving to the U.S. every year to pursue their careers in entertainment.
Backstage vice president of casting Luke Crowe says Aussie actors with some interesting credits to their name might intrigue U.S. talent agents, even if they do not recognise the name of the show.
“No one wants to miss out on discovering the next Chris Hemsworth, Nicole Kidman, Ben Mendelsohn or Cate Blanchett.
“With so many amazing actors having come from Australia, new Australian actors at least have the advantage of the great reputation their forbears have built up.”
He says although there are more American productions than Australia’s vibrant scene, with over a million American actors the competition can get fierce.
Mr Seip says Australia’s entertainment industry is well respected, well known for its treatment and training programs, which is shown through how Australian performers are treated overseas.
Although it is significantly smaller, it is still world class and employment opportunities for artists in Australia are growing at a rapid rate he says.
Mr Pullar says “There are far fewer opportunities here, far fewer stories being told, but the ones that are, are really good.”
He says Australia exports, per capita, the most successful international actors in the international business.
According to the Australian Arts Council, more than 400 artists and arts organisations worked internationally across 50 countries between 2015 and 2016.
Actors abroad face different challenges such as getting visas, with many production companies not wanting to fuss over the paperwork, as well as accent differences Mr Crowe says.
A failure to deliver the American accent directors are expecting could cost Australians the chance to be fully considered for the role, however, the Aussie accent may also help the actor stand out he says.
Overseas industry conditions can differ slightly, with actors in America receiving higher wages, but expected to go on publicity tours and work longer hours Mr Pullar says.
Often working 10 hour days starting before 5am, he says the entertainment industry is not all the glamour it is made out to be.
Anyone, anywhere, must be willing to work long days, tough conditions and work collaboratively he says.
“If you are working in the film industry, no matter where you are, it is a tough industry.”